Arkadie Kouguell remembered in Lebanon


Samia Himadeh

Mrs Samia Himadeh

In a tribute to Professor Arkadie Kouguell, Mrs Samia Himadeh remembered the great composer and his impact on the evolution of classical music in Beirut, Lebanon.

Born in Russia in 1896, Mr Kouguell began his music studies in Vienna, and became the director of a music academy in the Crimea before emigrating to Turkey in 1922. From 1923-1948, he lived in Beirut where he taught music and performed concerts at the American University of Beirut (AUB) West Hall, conducting the orchestra of the Music Institute of Beirut.

Encouraged by their father AUB Professor Said Himadeh, Samia and her siblings studied and performed classical music at a young age. Samia’s passion was the violin, in which she excelled.

After the Music Institute of Beirut seized its activities following the academic year 1948-49, Professor Kouguell conducted a final concert most brilliantly. Being the only female violin student, Samia was invited to perform a masterpiece by Handel during the concert. To her complete surprise and utter joy, unexpectedly, Professor Kouguell decided to accompany her on the piano. This she maintained as having been a great privilege.

To this day, that period is remembered as the good old days during which Mr Arkadie Kouguell and others have contributed to the culture and prosperity of Lebanon, leaving behind a legacy for which many remain eternally grateful.

Mr Arkadie Kouguell